(b Knoxville, Nov 27, 1909; d New York, May 16, 1955). American novelist, screenwriter, journalist, poet, and film critic. Son of Laura Tyler Agee and Hugh James (Jay) Agee, James Agee graduated from Exeter Academy and Harvard University (1932), before becoming a staff writer for Fortune magazine, eventually writing film reviews for both Time (1939) and The Nation (1942). On assignment from Fortune, Agee worked in collaboration with the photographer Walker Evans on the study of Alabama tenant farmers, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Boston, 1941). His book of poetry, Permit Me Voyage, was published by the Yale Series of Younger Poets (New Haven, CT, 1934). In 1951, Agee published the novella, The Morning Watch(Boston). He was the principal author of the screenplay for The African Queen (1950) and The Night of the Hunter (1954...
Joseph A. Brown
revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu
(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including ...
(b Atlantic, PA, Dec 15, 1888; d Stamford, CT, Feb 28, 1959). American playwright. After studies at the University of North Dakota and at Stanford University he taught in North Dakota and California. In 1918 he moved to New York, where he worked for several years as a journalist before establishing himself as a playwright. His writings include several verse dramas, radio plays, film scripts, music dramas, essays, and one volume of poetry.
Anderson had a lifelong interest in the musical stage. For many years he was associated closely with Kurt Weill, with whom he collaborated on Knickerbocker Holiday and Lost in the Stars, a dramatization of Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country. Uncompleted works with Weill include Ulysses Africanus (whose leading role was intended for Paul Robeson) and Raft on the River, a musical adaptation of Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Weill and Anderson also collaborated on a scenic cantata, ...
revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu
(b Bucharest, Dec 22, 1894/Jan 5, 1895; d Bucharest, Feb 4, 1974). Romanian composer, pianist, teacher, and critic. An erudite personality of Romanian music, he contributed to the formation of a Romanian school of composition during the inter-war years. At the Bucharest Conservatory (1906–13) he studied with Kiriac-Georgescu, Castaldi, Klenck, and Dunicu. In 1919 he graduated law school in Bucharest and then took the PhD in 1922 in Paris. During his stay in France, he participated in the courses of composition of Vincent d’Indy and Gabriel Faure. In 1920, he founded the Society of Romanian composers with other important musicians. At the Bucharest Conservatory (now the National University of Music Bucharest) he taught chamber music (1926–48) and composition (1948–59). His students include Stefan Niculescu, Dumitru Capoianu, and Aurel Stroe. He was not only a partner at the chamber concerts of George Enescu, but also promoted together with Enescu the new Romanian and French chamber music. He wrote for numerous publications on subjects ranging from music aesthetics to jazz and folk music, for instance, ‘George Enescu the Way I Met Him’ in ...
Larisa Georgievna Danko
(b St Petersburg, 17/July 29, 1884; d Moscow, Jan 27, 1949). Russian musicologist, composer and critic. He studied at the St Petersburg Conservatory from 1904 to 1910 with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov, and graduated in 1908 from the faculty of history and philology of the University of St Petersburg. From 1910 he worked as a repetiteur; from 1916 edited and composed ballet music and from 1919 was a member of the board of directors and repertory consultant at the Mariinsky and Mikhaylovsky Theatres. In 1919 he became head of the Central Library for State Musical Theatres. In the same year, in association with Lyapunov and Bulich, he organized the music department at the Petrograd Institute for the History of the Arts (now the Zubov Institute for the History of the Arts); he was its director from 1921. Between 1922 and 1925 he was responsible for the organization there of concerts of contemporary music. He was made a professor at the Leningrad Conservatory in ...
Amanda M. Burt
revised by Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson
(b Ísafjörður, Oct 11, 1928). Icelandic composer, teacher and critic. He graduated in 1955 from the Reykjavík College of Music, where he studied the piano with Árni Kristjánsson and theory with Victor Urbancic. Further composition studies were undertaken at the RSAMD in Glasgow (1955–6) and at the Guildhall School of Music in London (1965). In 1961 he received a teacher's diploma from the Reykjavík College of Music. Ásgeirsson has conducted various choirs, and became the principal music critic of Morgunblaðið in 1970. Formerly president of the Icelandic Composers' Society, he has taught at various institutions and is currently professor at the Icelandic Teachers' College.
His works are mainly traditional in style though he has written a few serial compositions. He is particularly interested in reviving Icelandic folksongs and dances and has set related folk poetry found without music; he has also served as music director for productions of the ancient dances by the National Dance Company. In ...
Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner
(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (1912–68) in the patent office. He was largely self-taught although he studied composition and instrumentation with Hallén at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1910–11), and partly used the state composer’s scholarships he received between 1911 and 1915 to study in Germany (1911 and 1913). He made his début as a conductor at Göteborg in 1912, when the programme included his First Symphony; thereafter (particularly during the 1920s) he often conducted his own music and that of contemporaries, both at home and abroad (where he promoted Swedish music). From 1916 to 1922 he was kapellmästare at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; he also worked enthusiastically as co-founder and president (...
(b Mariupol, Ukraine, near the north coast of the Sea of Azov, Sept 27, 1875; d Athens, May 16, 1924). Greek composer, critic, and music educator. After the return of his family to Athens in 1887 he studied music privately with Loudovikos Spinellis, and later, in 1895, he went to Naples, Italy, to study composition at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella with Paolo Serrao. He came back to Athens in 1901, where he clashed with the representatives of the biggest music institution, the Athens Conservatory, due to the shift of the repertory towards German instead of Italian music, and the changing of the method of music education. He founded, along with Georgios Lambelet, one of the most important cultural magazines of the period, the journal Kritiki (1903–4), through which he expressed his ideas about the paths of music education and Greek music. During the period ...
(b Belgrade, Feb 10, 1927; d Belgrade, Oct 13, 2009). Serbian composer and music critic. He studied composition with Milenko Živković at the Academy of Music in Belgrade, graduating in 1955, and at the Accademia Nazionale di S. Cecilia in Rome (1967–8). He was a conductor of the choral society Napredak (1953–5), and then taught at Stanković music school (1955–66) and at the Music Academy (today Faculty of Music, 1966–96). As a music critic, he collaborated with various newspapers (Borba, Naša borba, Politika, Večernje novosti) and translated several books. He received awards from Udruženje kompozitora Srbije (‘the Association of Serbian composers’) and Yugoslav Radio, and received the Vukova nagrada. He followed the aesthetic of Stevan Mokranjac and his own professor Živković. His lyric music, predominantly choral, is distinguishable by his afinity for humour, both in his choice of lyrics and the musical means. He uses verbal punning (...
(b Wiesbaden, July 20, 1923). Israeli critic, composer and musicologist. He moved to Mandatory Palestine in 1936. After studying composition with Paul Ben-Haim, his most influential teacher, Bar-Am attended the Ecole Normale de Paris (1949–51). He studied musicology at Tel-Aviv University (BA 1977), where he became the principal lecturer for courses on Jewish music and Israeli contemporary music (1973–96) and the first director of the Archive of Israeli Music. The secretary general of the Israeli League of Composers (1960–76, 1976–8), he became chair of the organizing committee of the ISCM in Israel in 1980. Though most influential as the music critic of the Jerusalem Post between 1958 and 1995, Bar-Am also wrote many essays on Israeli music in Hebrew, English and German, notably ‘A Musical Gateway between East and West’ (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 1988). He ceased composing in the early 1970s but resumed in ...
[Jones, (Everett) LeRoi]
(b Newark, NJ, Oct 7, 1934). American writer. He studied piano, drums, and trumpet privately and attended Howard University (BA 1954). In the early 1960s he achieved wide recognition for his poetry and plays and for his writings about jazz, which included articles for Down Beat, Jazz, and Jazz Review; a selection of his writings, many from Down Beat, was published in 1967 as Black Music. His book Blues People (1963), the first full-length study of jazz by a black writer, is both a sociological inquiry, using blues and jazz as a means of understanding how African Americans became assimilated into American culture, and a superb discussion of the cultural context of the music in the United States. Besides his activities as a writer, Baraka has been involved in many black cultural and community projects. He was a founder of the Black Arts Repertory Theater-School, which was in existence from ...
revised by Angel Medina
(b Madrid, March 16, 1928). Spanish composer and critic. He studied in Madrid at the conservatory and at the university, where he received the doctorate (1956). Although he followed courses under Messiaen and Ligeti, he is fundamentally a self-taught composer. He was a founder member of the Grupo Nueva Música (1958) and of ‘Zaj’ (1964–6), a musical theatre group. In 1967 he launched the Sonda magazine and the associated series of new music concerts. He was also music critic of the Madrid newspaper Ya (1971–8) and deputy director of Ritmo (1982–93). He has translated into Spanish numerous books, including works by Reger, Schoenberg, Schenker and Piston. He has been awarded various distinctions, such as the National Prize for Music (1973), the City of Madrid Prize for Musical Creation (1992) and the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts (...
John C.G. Waterhouse
(b San Domenico di Fiesole, Florence, June 20, 1883; d Tunis, Sept 22, 1927). Italian critic, composer and pianist. Largely self-taught, he became music critic of the newspapers La nazione (Florence) from 1915 to 1918 and Il resto del Carlino (Bologna) during 1919–23. He also taught composition and music history at the Nuova Scuola di Musica, Florence (1917). From 1909 to 1915 he regularly contributed to the influential Florentine cultural periodical La voce. His books, notably La crisi musicale europea (1912) in which he explored in depth the idea of decadence, are among the most thought-provoking written by any Italian musician of the time; and he had a knowledge and understanding of current trends (Skryabin, Schoenberg, etc.) which was then rare. His ideas exerted an important influence on progressive Italian musical opinion, and particularly on other composers: in 1911 he was the chief spokesman for a short-lived pressure group known as La Lega dei Cinque or ‘I “Cinque” Italiani’, whose other members were Pizzetti, G. F. Malipiero, Respighi and Renzo Bossi. Bastianelli’s propaganda advocated ‘the ...
(b Filettole, nr Prato, Aug 10, 1877; d Zoagli, Dec 18, 1949). Italian dramatist . After working as a journalist, he wrote a successful comedy, Tignola, but thereafter turned to historical tragedies in hendecasyllabic verse set in the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance, in the manner of D’Annunzio. La cena della beffe won international acclaim; it and five others were set as operas by Italian composers. After a period of adherence to Fascism (he sat in Parliament from 1921 until the murder of Matteotti in 1924) Benelli distanced himself from the regime and concentrated on writing plays with philosophical themes. He emigrated to Switzerland but returned to Italy after the end of World War II.L’amore dei tre re, Montemezzi, 1913; Il mantellaccio, Setaccioli, comp. 1913, broadcast 1954; La cena delle beffe, Giordano, 1924; Rosmunda, E. Trentinaglia, 1929; Gorgona, L. Landi, comp. c1933; Proserpina, R. Bianchi, 1938...
(b Bethlehem, PA, July 22, 1898; d New York, March 13, 1943). American writer. He wrote poetry and prose with great facility, producing a wide variety of works: light verse, short stories, novels, essays, reviews, and long poems. Though their quality is uneven, they include several important works, notably the epic poem John Brown’s Body (New York, 1928) for which he received a Pulitzer Prize. Many of Benét’s subjects come from American history or folklore. Among the many American composers who have been drawn to his poetry are Randall Thompson, Leslie Bassett, Gail Kubik, and Douglas Moore (who also set poems by Benét’s brother William Rose Benét, 1886–1950). Moore was a lifelong friend of Benét’s, and the two worked closely together on the one-act opera The Devil and Daniel Webster. This tale first appeared in 1936 as a short story in the Saturday Evening Post. Its spectacle of bringing the dead to life and the drama of its final courtroom scene make it excellent material for the stage. The opera version, first produced in ...
(b New York, NY, May 15, 1912; d Boston, MA, Oct 7, 2003). American composer and critic. He was a student at the Townsend Harris High School, the College of the City of New York, and New York University (BS 1934). During these years he espoused leftist politics and was a member—along with Bernard Herrmann, Jerome Moross, Israel Citkowitz, Vivian Fine, Elie Siegmeister, and others—of various radical composers’ groups including the Young Composers Group that formed around Aaron Copland. He was a fellowship student in the newly formed Professional Division of the Longy School of Music (1935–7) concurrently with graduate studies at Harvard University (MA 1936), where he trained in musicology with Hugo Leichtentritt, aesthetics with D.W. Prall, and theory and analysis with walter Piston . From 1937 to 1939 he studied theory with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He taught at Mills College (1939–42...
(b Geneva, Oct 10, 1900; d Paris, May 2, 1971). French music critic and composer. He studied at Geneva Conservatoire and University with G.T. Strong, Otto Barblan and Joseph Lauber, and with L.F.A. Aubert in Paris (1926). During his wide-ranging career he worked as a concert pianist, choirmaster and conductor, and as a teacher at the Conservatoire International de Paris (1929) and Schola Cantorum (1937), but he was known chiefly as a music critic and composer. He wrote for several Parisian daily newspapers and edited various French music periodicals including the Revue musicale (1939–40, 1946–51) and L'information musicale (1940–44); his books are mainly about French music. His compositions include the operas Flen (1918), Le chevalier au Barizel (1919) and Polyphème (1922), orchestral music (including Les bergers d'Arcadie and Prélude au cimetière marin...
(b Tournai, May 26, 1898; d Ixelles, Brussels, Dec 12, 1981). Belgian composer and critic. After studying philosophy and law he applied himself to thorough music studies, taking composition lessons with Absil and Souris. If Bertouille’s attachment to traditional forms was reminiscent of neo-classicism, he considered melody as the essential element in music, assigning to it the expression of feeling as its principal objective. Avoiding any aggressivity in the sphere of harmony, he advocated aesthetic ideas opposed to the avant garde. In L’oeuvre d’art he argued that contemporary art had lost its way: by renouncing every structural principle it had ceased to have any meaning, existing only by virtue of its negations.
revised by Lyudmila Kovnatskaya
(b Starozhilovka, nr St Petersburg, July 17, 1903; d Moscow, May 13, 1971). Russian critic and composer. His father was a leading laryngologist and specialist in the teaching of the deaf and dumb. His mother possessed literary gifts, and the whole family took a keen interest in the arts. However, on his father’s insistence Bogdanov-Berezovsky attended the Nikolayevsky military school (1914–17).
He began to compose in childhood, and on the advice of Ziloti, a friend of the family, took lessons with V.M. Belyayev (1918–19). He entered the Petrograd Conservatory in 1919 to study composition with Steinberg and piano with Daugovet. He studied counterpoint first with N. Sokolov and then with A. Lyapunov, and instrumentation with A. Zhitomirsky. His father’s death forced him to discontinue his piano studies at the Conservatory and take a job as a medical orderly on the ship Narodovlets. As a result, in ...
Charles H. Kaufman
(b Washington, NC, 1889; d Taormina, Sicily, Dec 8, 1983). American composer and critic. He attended the Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, where he studied composition with Brockway and the piano with Ernest Hutcheson. He went to England in 1911 and remained there until 1917, when he enlisted in the US Army. After the war Bonner worked in Paris, where he studied conducting under Albert Wolff, 1921–7. He then returned to New York and served as music critic for The Outlook magazine (1927–9) and several newspapers, including the Daily Eagle, Daily Mirror and New York Herald Tribune. In all Bonner composed five orchestral works, four chamber works and five operas. The orchestral piece Whispers of Heavenly Death (1925) and a suite from his opera La comédie de celui qui épousa une femme muette (1923) were performed by the Baltimore SO.
The stylistic ferment in the musical world during Bonner’s lifetime had little, if any, effect on his work. His early compositions carry considerable Puccinian influence, a trait that has never fully left his scores. Although displaying an occasional chromatic tartness, his music for the most part remains conservative. It has been described as delicate and containing a sweetness not uncommon to works of the 18th-century Italian repertory....